Friday, July 27, 2012

Farm Friday

This week on the farm we've started getting tractors and equipment ready for the fall.  We've also been doing a rain dance which gave us mixed results on Wednesday.  At our home place we got .10" of rain - needless to say, we would have like more!  But at the same time, we had some fields get 1" of rain, but with the rain came some wind damage.

Wind damaged corn
As you can see my "backyard" could still use some rain.

The corn is now at the dough stage, or R4.  As you can see, our drought conditions have stressed the corn kernels.  This ear has a poor kernel set at the tip.  Thankfully this ear has 18 rows, but the rows won't have as many kernels per row.

Now onto my hog's "backyard."  The soybeans continue to grow nicely.  The plants are now at my shoulders (keep in mind, I'm 5'2", but still that's tall!)

The soybean plants now have reached Full Pod (R4)

Look at all those soybeans!
and some plants are at R5 - Beginning Seed.

Lets hope we get some good rains so the soybeans can fill nicely and so the corn can maybe recover a little.

Did you get rain this week?  It seemed like a lot of rain fell across the United States but at the same time it seemed to be spotty.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning + Fun + Extra Cash = 4-H Judging

Yesterday I spent the day judging at the 4-H Exhibit Day at the Hancock County Fair in Britt, Iowa.  I judged several project areas including Visual Arts, Poster Art, Child Development, Consumer Management, Health, Leadership, Citizenship, and Self-Determined.

I've been judging 4-H communication contests and county fairs for the last eight years.  I love learning new things from the 4-Hers and coming home with fun ideas.  Another added perk is that it is a nice way to get some extra spending cash.

I feel like 4-H helped shape me to be the person I am today, and by judging, it is one way of giving back to the organization.  I hope I have encouraged 4-Hers I have evaluated to explore their interests and educate themselves more in those areas.  By doing those things I believe I have helped strengthen their life skills of leadership, communication and citizenship.

If you are from Iowa and are interested in becoming a 4-H judge, right now is the perfect time to start!  Starting in October, there will be Judges Trainings in Ames, Calmar, Marion, Storm Lake, Iowa City, Algona, Carson and Osceola, through March.  Judges Training builds knowledge and skills needed for a quality judging experience.  It also gives you an opportunity to practice before direct interaction with 4-Hers.  For experienced judges, the training provides revised and updated resources.

Are you a 4-H Judge - why do you enjoy judging?  Are you interested in becoming a 4-H Judge - what questions do you have about judging?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Sweet Corn of the Season

Last night for supper we had our first pick of sweet corn and it was sooo good!  

What made it even better is that we had some friends over and had in my opinion a classic summer supper - pork chops from the grill, sweet corn, apple pie and ice cream!  Can't wait to have BLTs and more sweet corn tonight!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fair Time Favorites

Last week my family and I kept busy because our local Franklin County Fair was being held.  There was only one day last week that between My Farmer and I, we didn't have to be at the fair - We joked around that we can only imagine what are fair schedule will be like when we have kids in 4-H!  Overall we had a great time and the weather was great for it.  Here is my Top Five Franklin County Fair Favorites:

  • Promote Our Commodities - I've been lucky the last couple of years to have be asked to judge the 4-H Promote Our Commodities contest.  This is a cooking and baking contest where 4-Hers bring dishes that feature beef, pork, lamb, dairy or soy.  It is always fun to try all the fun recipes the 4-Hers bring and to talk to them about Iowa's top commodities.  I hope I continue to be asked to judge this event!
LP helping me judge 4-Her Abby's Oatmeal Cranberry Soy Cookies - very delicious!
  • Farm Bureau Burger Feed - Every year the Franklin County Farm Bureau (which both My Farmer and I serve on) sponsors a day at the fair.  One thing the Farm Bureau does as a part of that sponsored day is that we have a burger feed.  We pass out 1,000 pork burger and hamburgers.  It is great way to promote pork, beef and Farm Bureau.
My Farmer on the left, with a couple other Farm Bureau board members grilling pork burgers
at the burger feed.  You can see part of the burger feed line behind them.
  • Entertainment - Our County Fair does a great job with an Entertainment line-up every year.  This year we really enjoyed going to the Oak Ridge Boys concert, Rodney Atkins concert and the Monster Truck Rally.  My personal favorite was the Oak Ridge Boys concert.  My Farmer, LP and I brought my Mom and Grandma along with us to the concert.  My Grandma, who will be 80 at the end of the month, is a huge Oak Ridge Boys fan.  She had a great time at the concert which made me enjoy it that much more!  She stood up near the stage for the concert and got high-fives from the whole band at the end of the night.  They played for over an hour and a half and had the entire crowd on their feet.  Their final song was Amazing Grace which was dedicated to those in Aurora, Colorado.
My Grandma is the one with white shoulder length hair in the bottom right of this photo.
You can see how close she got to the stage!
  • Food - You can't talk about the Fair and not talk about FOOD!  Every year at our County Fair I have to eat at the 4-H Food Stand and get a taco salad and a slice of homemade pie, I have to get a chicken wrap from the Smoke & Crome stand, and I have to get homemade ice cream from Pleasant Hill.  This year my new favorite food I tried was fried cookie dough on a stick!  The food at the County Fair makes me excited for food at the State Fair next month!
My Farmer and LP after eating some homemade ice cream at Pleasant Hill
  • Family Time - We had a blast as a family at the fair this year.  LP is only 16 months old but he had so much fun at the fair!  He enjoyed just people watching, to singing and dancing at the concerts, to cheering on the Monster Trucks.  It was fun to do things as a family all week long.
LP loved putting his hands up in the air and cheering at the concerts.
Here we all are cheering for the Oak Ridge Boys.
I always love hearing from readers.  What is your favorite thing to do at the Fair?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Farm Friday

It has been a fast paced week here on the farm.  Besides keeping busy with loading hogs and spraying fungicide on our corn, we've also been participating in several things at our local county fair this week.

My "backyard" is starting to show signs of stress due to a lack of rain but yet, I remain optimistic about the crop.

I can't believe how much the corn ears are growing despite no rain!  The corn is now at R3 which is known as the milk stage.  The kernels are now yellow on the outside and have a milky white fluid in the kernels, which is the beginning of starch accumulation.

You can see how large the ear of corn is compared to my hand

R3 Corn
There are 16 rows on this ear of corn

Now onto my hog's "backyard."  The soybeans continue to grow well despite the lack of rain.

Here's a look at how large the soybean pods are today.

Have you gotten rain this week?  How long has it been since you had a measurable rain?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Farm It Maybe

I think "Farm It Maybemight be the next viral sensation to highlight agriculture, like "I'm Farming and I Grow It" which now has almost 6 million views!  According to the YouTube account, this video is done by 9 year old Fred and his 18 year old brother Justin.  These young dairymen do a great job on their farm parody of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe."  On the video's page, the brothers comment that their video was inspired by the Peterson Farm Brother's I'm Farming and I Grow It video.  Just like the I'm Farming and I Grow It video, I first saw this video when there were 2,000 some odd views yesterday afternoon, as I write this blog this morning there are over 42,000 views.  It is a fun video that shares information about dairy farming.  Good luck guys!

Check out Lil Fred's other videos too.  I really like his "Got Milk?" video.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Toilet Paper Impact

Last night LP and I watched our County Fair Parade and after the Fire Engines, Fair Queen Candidates and local businesses, the Greater Franklin County Chamber had an entry that reminded everyone to Shop Local, Dine Local and Bank Local.  The main focus of their campaign is to Buy One Product Locally - Toilet Paper.

I have to admit, before our local chamber started this campaign I didn't buy my toilet paper locally.  I went out of the county to buy it at a large discount store.  Why not buy something so simple as toilet paper to support businesses in my county!  Here are the numbers:

How much toilet paper is used in Franklin County?

  • Number of people in Greater Franklin County = 14, 987
  • Average number of rolls used per person each year = 105
  • Total number of rolls used by the people of Franklin County = 1,573,635
  • Average cost per roll = $1.25
  • Total dollars spent on toilet paper per year = $1,967,043.75
How much toilet paper is bought in Franklin County?
  • Estimate total rolls purchased locally per year = 268,640
  • Average cost per roll = $1.25
  • Total dollars spent in Greater Franklin County on toilet paper = $335,800
How much is Franklin County loosing in local sales just because people are buying their toilet paper out of county?  $1,631,244

I'm not one that usually shouts to the hill tops about "Buying Local" but really, what could you do with $1.6 million dollars for your community?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Farm Friday (Monday Edition...)

My Farm Friday post is coming a little later this week, or should I say last week, because My Farmer and I were at the Iowa Farm Bureau's state Young Farmer Advisory Committee's meeting all weekend.  This was our last meeting on the state board; we finished our three-year term at the meeting.

IFBF State Board Member Carlton Kjos presenting My Farmer and I
a clock as a gift of appreciation for our  service
We had a great time serving on the state Young Farmer committee!  We made a lot of great friends, made memories traveling to different conferences, and learned a lot about Farm Bureau while on the committee.

"Retiring" committee members - the Hall's, My Farmer & I, and the Dreher's
Our time on the state committee may be over but My Farmer and I still have many more years as Young Farmers ahead of us!  We are excited to move onto different commitments within Farm Bureau and we wish the best to the new board members.

The new North Central Iowa representatives, the Muff's, with Us
They'll do a great job representing our district
Now that I explained why my Farm Friday post is late, I better post my crop report.  This week on the farm we have been keeping busy with hauling corn to an area ethanol plant and with spraying our soybeans with fungicide and Round-Up.  My "backyard" is in a big need for a drink of water!  I hope we get some rain and soon!

The corn is continuing to pollinate.

If you look closely, you can see the tassel pollen on the silks of the ear of corn
Here is a look at how the ear of corn currently looks.  It is beginning to show the kernels which is known as blistering or R2.

My "hog's backyard" of soybeans is now up to my chest!  (I'm only 5'2" though...)

The soybeans are now at R3, meaning they are beginning to set pods.  Temperature or moisture stress during this stage can affect yield through total pod numbers, bean number per pod, and/or seed size.  So this means our soybeans need a good rainfall and nice temperatures, which today is suppose to get in the high 90's with no rain - not what we want!

How is the weather in your area?  Are you too going through the current drought that is across 2/3 of the United States?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Fun in the Corn

After church today I told My Farmer that I wanted to take a family photo next to the corn field at our acreage.  I had planned on doing this on the 4th of July and saying some cute like "Knee High by the Fourth of July..." but I guess I'll just have to go with "Sunday Fun in the Corn."

I bet the corn is 7-8' tall!

Gotta love my tripod and self timer...

All smiles!
Happy Sunday everyone - hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Travel Midwest Part II

Last month I talked about the Fly In To Fly Over Country initiative in my first Travel Midwest blog post about my "Girl's Weekend" in Dubuque.  Today, I'm going to share about an Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer day trip that My Farmer and I took to Marquette and McGregor, Iowa last weekend.

Our friends Mike and Kaylee with me and My Farmer along the Mississippi River
Last Saturday around 50 Young Farmers from Northeast Iowa (and a few from North Central Iowa!) traveled to the Mississippi River for a day in Marquette and McGregor, Iowa.  These towns are both along the river and are a couple miles from each other.

The day started by going on a tour and eating at Old Man River Brewery in McGregor.  This was a great place to meet up and visit with everyone, as well as try some beer!  My favorite beer was their Gold Coin Helles.  There top selling beer is their Slingshot Dunkel.  They are selling so much beer that they are brewing daily!

After the brewery, we all went on a two-hour river boat cruise where we learned about agriculture and shipping on the Mississippi River.  It was a lot of fun to be on the river and to see barge traffic in action.

The last tour of the day was at Eagles Landing Winery in Marquette.  It was a lot of fun to get a tour of the winery from one of the owners.  You could really sense his love and passion for agriculture, viticulture, his winery and Iowa.  My favorite wine probably was their Campfire Hootch, which also happens to be their top seller.  The neat thing about this wine is that they created it by chance by combining the bottom of their wine tanks.  No two batches of this wine will ever be the same.

My Farmer and I had a great time during our trip to the Mississippi River.  Remember to join the Fly In To Fly Over Country: Travel Midwest facebook page.  Also, check out the groups's Pinterest page too.  This campaign was started in May when National Geographic's Aric Queen announced he would be traveling the United States on a "Classic American Roadtrip."  The only downfall of this roadtrip was that it started on the East Coast, went down South and then over to Los Angeles - completing bi-passing the Midwest!

What are some agri-tourism trips you have went on?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Farm Friday

This week on the farm we have been busy hauling corn to the ethanol plant.  We also have been busy making sure our hogs stay cool during these high temperatures and triple digit heat indexes.  The pigs in our building currently are around 100 pounds, this means we like to keep their houses at 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the outside temperature is higher than our ideal conditions we have misters or sprinklers automatically turn on to help keep the pigs comfortable.  When hogs are at market weight between 260 and 280 pounds, we like to keep their houses between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wouldn't you like to be in 60 and 70 degree temperatures your entire life???
As for "my backyard" this week, at the beginning of the week the corn started tasseling, which is the last stage in the vegetative growth cycle known as VT.

Corn Tassel

And now by the end of the week, the corn has begun silking, which is the first stage in the reproductive growth cycle known as R1.  At this stage pollination begins when pollen grains from the tassels contact the new and moist silks.  When scouting this field I came out with pollen grains all over me.  I'm happy that temperatures are forecasted to be cooler and that we have a chance of rain next week, because the largest yield reduction due to stress happens at this stage.

Corn Ears Silking
Here is an ear of corn that I shucked.  You can see the kernels beginning to form and the silks. 
Now onto my "hog's backyard":

The soybeans started their reproductive stages last week by beginning to flower.  This week they are at R2, which means they are at full bloom and have flowers within the top two nodules of the plant.

Do you have any questions about corn or soybean development?  Be sure to leave comments and/or questions in the comment section below.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The simple things...

Today as I was playing with my son after dinner I was reminded of how the simple things in life are what makes life great, from seeing the corn begin to tassel, despite the hot weather and no rain in over a week...

To hearing my son laugh...

All I can say is life is good and God is great!